SOUTH AFRICA – The Council for Medical Schemes has given its stamp of approval to the merger of Hosmed Medical Scheme and Sizwe Medical Fund, creating South Africa’s eighth-largest open medical scheme.

The merger brings together Sizwe’s 46 900 membership with Hosmed’s 21 000. According to these membership numbers, the merged entity becomes the eighth largest medical scheme in the country with the fourth-highest solvency ratio of the top 10n largest medical schemes, the company said in a statement yesterday.

There are no words to describe the significance of the series of events and business decisions that have been crowned by the birth of the entity that is Sizwe Hosmed Medical Scheme,” said Dr Simon Mangcwatywa, Sizwe Hosmed’s principal executive officer.

We can all be proud to bear witness to the birth of Sizwe Hosmed, as it represents the collective proverbial blood, sweat and tears of a group of individuals with the tenacity to see through a shared vision to its fruition.”

Sizwe Hosmed members will benefit through a reduction in non-health-care expenses attributed to reduced operational scheme expenses,” he said.

“Sizwe Hosmed Medical Scheme’s work force will continue to provide the excellent level of service and support that our members have come to expect.”

Looking ahead to the future defined by the success of Sizwe Hosmed Medical Scheme, Mangcwatywa said, “As we step into the new journey of this medical scheme, we must remember what lies at the base of our operations.

We are working not for ourselves and our own benefit, but the for the generations ahead of us; to ensure that this legacy tree will stand firmly rooted, offering safety and protection under the comfort of its shade.”

In recent years, a few developments have placed a burden on smaller medical funds, creating increasing pressure for consolidations, such as a review of the Prescribed Minimum Benefits package, the drive towards implementing a National Health Insurance (NHI), and an expected increase in claims in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This merger is mutually beneficial to both schemes, where the combined balance sheet and increased membership size will unlock efficiencies and economies of scale to the benefit of all members.

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